Knowledge Hub | Articles

24 January 2018

Is disqualification from driving inevitable with 12 penalty points?

Criminal law specialist, Jonothan Moss is often asked whether the accumulation of 12 points on a driving licence will lead to a disqualification from driving.  The answer is that it depends on your circumstances.

Penalty points

To understand this issue, we must understand the basics. The law states that if you accumulate 12 or more penalty points on your driving record within 3 years then the starting point is that you would face a disqualification from driving for at least 6 months. This can increase to 12 months or 24 months depending on your driving record.

Exceptional hardship

This is only the starting point. The law goes on to say that once you have reached 12 or more points  you can avoid a disqualification, or receive a shorter one than the time frames set out above, if you can show that the loss of your driving licence would cause you or others exceptional hardship. This has been defined as hardship, which is out of the ordinary.

The starting point when faced with this possibility is to work out if the points for the new offence will put you in jeopardy. The easiest way to work out if points are relevant and will be added together is to take the date of the current offence and go back three years. Any offences committed within that 3 year period will be relevant. So the crucial point here is that it is commission to commission date that is important and not when the court deals with a case.


Once it is established that you are at risk of a disqualification under the totting up process, the only way to avoid a disqualification is to show that the loss of your licence will cause you, or others, exceptional hardship. Greater weight will always be given by the court to the impact on innocent third parties such as elderly relatives, children or employees in a business who rely on your ability to be mobile if severe consequences would follow if you were not permitted to drive.

There is not an exhaustive list as to what amounts to exceptional hardship. Every case is different. The law however is clear that loss of employment on its own will never be enough, but severe consequences that may follow from a loss of employment, may be a very different matter indeed.

The important thing to remember is that where exceptional hardship is to be raised, it must be prepared properly. Evidence at the hearing can be given on oath by a client, via the solicitor or handed to the court in the form of a prepared statement. The particular method varies from case to case depending on each client. Supporting evidence is also crucial.

It is always prudent, should you find yourself at risk of any disqualification from driving, to receive expert legal advice as soon as possible so you know your options and a clear strategy to deal with it can be formed. A disqualification is not necessarily inevitable.

Jonothan Moss has been assisting clients for over 25 years with these type of cases. In the event that you are at risk of a disqualification from driving, please call him on 01753 278665 or email for a no obligation discussion.

Jonothan Moss

Jonothan Moss

Tel: 01753 278665 | 07891 990858

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